Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby smokey » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:06 pm

I have a question. How to practice Mindfulness of Mental Objects (Dhammanupassana)? I am reading a book "Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice" by Ven. Sujiva but it does not say in the book how to do that. I will put an excerpt from the book :
"The third foundation of mindfulness is mindfulness of consciousness
or mind. At this point, we will not try to differentiate
between what we call mind and mental states.
To digress a little on this matter; there is a fourth foundation of
mindfulness regarding Dhamma, translated as mental objects. This
fourth foundation of mindfulness is more general and there are
different interpretations of what it means. Generally, there are two
types of interpretations. One interpretation is that Dhamma means
certain aspects of the teachings, whereby when we contemplate on
it—insight ie vipassana may arise. The other meaning is mental objects.
Concerning this, it may also be interpreted as Dhamma in the sense
of phenomena because all phenomena can be made the object of the
mind. Therefore, the field is very wide; it stretches beyond the fields
of the other three forms of objects. For the beginner we will not deal
so much with this. We will just deal with the mind. We will include
the mental states, which have often been classified under Dhamma
or mental objects."
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:17 pm

Meditation on the Dhamma objects, seeing how they arise, how they come about. It is a meditation and contemplation on the Dhamma itself and the factors of the Dhamma and how they come into be, both the wholesome factors and the unwholesome fetters.


Five Hindrances:
"There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no further appearance in the future of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and anxiety, and uncertainty.)

Five Aggregates:
"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five aggregates for sustenance/clinging. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five aggregates for sustenance/clinging? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception...Such are processes...Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance".

Sixfold Internal and External Sense Media:
"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal and external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal and external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no further appearance in the future of a fetter that has been abandoned". (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, and intellect.).

Seven Factor of Awakening:
"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the seven factors of awakening. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the seven factors of awakening? There is the case where, there being mindfulness as a factor of awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor of awakening is present within me.' Or, there being no mindfulness as a factor of awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor of awakening is not present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor of awakening. And he discerns how there is the culmination of the development of mindfulness as a factor of awakening once it has arisen". (The same formula is repeated for the remaining factors of awakening: analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity.)

from MN 10 Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta, Ven. Thanissaro, trans.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:49 am

Hi smokey

Within the tradition that I practice, its not a practice for beginners. Dhammanupassana, is observation of the mental contents as they are. In my experience, Dhammanupassana, arises spontaneously when I have a certain depth of samadhi and when my mind has been prepared (for want of a better word) by my main technique, vedananupassana.
Metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16064
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby smokey » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:50 pm

TheDhamma and Ben, thank you for answers.
Metta
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby smokey » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:58 pm

Is perhaps Dhammanupassana practiced in regards to the Truths, certain aspects of the teaching and for an example contemplation of Nibbana by thinking about Truths, certain aspects of the teaching and for an example contemplation of Nibbana while being mindful of the thoughts and thinking and then insight knowledge(s) regarding mental object(s) which are being contemplated upon spontaneuosly arises?
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:17 am

This is my take on the whole thing. Please, I welcome critique.

You choose a list, then take each mental event as it comes and try to categorize it according to that list. The act of categorizing it will force you to look at the right qualities, force you to ask the right questions.

The list on hindrances will help you see what hindrances are most prominent in your mind, and so you can skillfully cultivating it's anti-state so that this hindrance can subside: eg, ill-will needs you to develop metta. As you become skilled in noting what kind of hindrance a mental event is, you become quicker in dispelling that mental event. This is useful for the strengthening of concentration (samadhi). The list on the 7 factors is done similarly. You learn to recognize what can be categorized into that list, and so learn which kinds of thoughts/states are of benefit and which are not: you will also see how each factor can support the others, how each can be cultivated. By attending to these two lists you can see what is holding you back, what is helping you and (hopefully) you can reduce one and increase the other with greater ease. Often times you increase and strengthen the 7 factors simply by working to dispel the hindrances.

The list of aggregates will help you see where each mental object fits into this composition that is self, and you will gradually notice that all mental objects fit into the aggregates: there is no mental event that cannot be fit into this list, good or bad. The six-senses helps you understand that there is no event that can be experienced without them. Both of the lists are methods for understanding the self and how this self is actually composed of many different things.

After you have gained familiarity with each list and how they relate to experience you begin to look at them like this: they are inconstant, stressful and not self. You look at each event and how it fits into the list (how it fits into experience), and not whether it is constant or not, whether you felt more at ease with it's arising or less at ease with it's arising, and whether it is something you want to identify as being 'you' or 'yours'. 'Do you really want to depend on it for happiness and ease?' Be careful not to analyze the 7 factors too hard in the beginning, otherwise you might short circuit your own efforts.

By looking at each and every event like this you will start to have a better understanding of the four noble truths with out really meaning to. In time you will be able to dispense, for the most part, the other lists and focus at looking at each event like this: is this stressful? Why is it stressful? At what point is it no longer stressful? How can I reduce and eliminate the stress I feel at these events.

As for when you take up this frame of reference. Well, in sitting meditation it is helpful to have some level of stability: you don't want to be distracted, after all. However, I would encourage you to try and develop this way of looking at your everyday experiences: whenever you think that you are not practicing hard enough (which is often for me) you can slow down, so you can pay careful attention to your experiences and how they fit into your chosen (I would suggest the hindrances first, then the six-senses) list. Make a habit of asking: is this experience going to last? Has it passed? Is it more peaceful in my mind now that it has passed?

And so on.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1284
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:00 pm

i agree with the reductor. It seems to be a almost a form of yonisomanasikara- putting everything into categories- or seeing reality through these categories and seeing that there is nothing beyond them. Then letting go of the categories (dhamma as in teachings of the buddha) as well.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:57 pm

rowyourboat wrote:i agree with the reductor. It seems to be a almost a form of yonisomanasikara- putting everything into categories- or seeing reality through these categories and seeing that there is nothing beyond them. Then letting go of the categories (dhamma as in teachings of the buddha) as well.


Yes, near the end, when you are nearing in on the goal, you would let go of the Dhamma as well. But don't do that yet! Don't jump from your raft 'till you've landed on the further shore.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1284
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby smokey » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:56 pm

Ven. Bhante Sujiva writes in his book "titled Essentials of Insight Meditation" this :
"The third foundation of mindfulness is mindfulness of consciousness
or mind. At this point, we will not try to differentiate
between what we call mind and mental states.
To digress a little on this matter; there is a fourth foundation of
mindfulness regarding Dhamma, translated as mental objects. This
fourth foundation of mindfulness is more general and there are
different interpretations of what it means. Generally, there are two
types of interpretations. One interpretation is that Dhamma means
certain aspects of the teachings, whereby when we contemplate on
it—insight ie vipassana may arise. The other meaning is mental objects.
Concerning this, it may also be interpreted as Dhamma in the sense
of phenomena because all phenomena can be made the object of the
mind. Therefore, the field is very wide; it stretches beyond the fields
of the other three forms of objects. For the beginner we will not deal
so much with this. We will just deal with the mind. We will include
the mental states, which have often been classified under Dhamma
or mental objects."

and this :
"This foundation of mindfulness is called dhammanupassana.
Satipatthana covers a wide field of meditation objects. “Dhamma”
itself has been translated as mind object and it includes virtually
everything, including Nibbana."

I have been reading on how to contemplate: Five Hindrances, Six Sense Bases, Five Aggregates and Factors of enlightenment in that book. But it is not said in the book how to contemlate certain aspects of the teaching (Dhamma)?
So my question would be how does one contemplate Nibbana and how does one contemplate certain aspects of teaching (Dhamma)?
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:45 pm

Not really answering your question, but I think that Bhante was implying in that talk that he didn't want to get into all of the possible complications and technical arguments over which contemplation is which. He gives practical advice on what he thinks are the most useful objects to pay attention to. Other teachers of course have different preferences. I found that book incredibly useful when I was away from my regular teachers...

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10264
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby kidd » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:49 pm

Is knowing a state of mind? Is understanding a state of mind?
Do I know something right now in this moment? Do I understand something right now in this moment?
How can this be confusing?

Is there something to be gained by making, or imagining there is, a distinction between seeing things as they are and having insight?

:juggling:
kidd
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:20 am

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:25 am

kidd wrote:Is knowing a state of mind? Is understanding a state of mind?

Do you mean in terms of whether it is in the third Satipatthana section? From the Sutta I understand the third section to be mostly to do with "mood": with/without lust, hate, etc...

"Knowing" or "understanding" (as I understand it) would come under the aggregate of perception in the fourth section. And "intention", which Mahasi-style teachers like Bhante Sujiva emphasise a lot, in the "formations" aggregate.

However, when it comes down to practise, when I'm walking, sitting, eating, or whatever I don't usually worry too much which section the objects fit into...

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10264
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby zavk » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:38 am

Hi all

I was just listening to a dhamma talk by Joseph Goldstein. When talking about dhammanupassana, he mentioned that even though the word 'dhamma' is difficult to translate we could, in the context of the satipatthana, think of it as 'categories of experience'.

I find this interesting because I've always thought of 'dhamma' as 'mental objects'. But 'categories of experience' seem to put a different spin on the issue. I'm still reflecting on this but I wonder what you think?
With metta,
zavk
User avatar
zavk
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:42 am

zavk wrote:I was just listening to a dhamma talk by Joseph Goldstein. When talking about dhammanupassana, he mentioned that even though the word 'dhamma' is difficult to translate we could, in the context of the satipatthana, think of it as 'categories of experience'.

I find this interesting because I've always thought of 'dhamma' as 'mental objects'. But 'categories of experience' seem to put a different spin on the issue. I'm still reflecting on this but I wonder what you think?


Dhamma is difficult to translate to a single word, but nupassana = contemplation, mindfulness, or meditation, thus:

dhammanupassana = meditation on the Dhamma

The way it is used in the Satipatthana Sutta sounds more like Dhamma in the sense of the concepts and teachings of Buddha.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:46 am

Greetings TheDhamma,

TheDhamma wrote:The way it is used in the Satipatthana Sutta sounds more like Dhamma in the sense of the concepts and teachings of Buddha.


Really? I think the examples you give in your opening post in this topic are simply frames of reference by which to classify and be mindful of mental objects.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Really? I think the examples you give in your opening post in this topic are simply frames of reference by which to classify and be mindful of mental objects.


Hi retro,

What's the difference? The frames of reference appear to be Dhamma concepts and teachings. And then we attempt to be mindful of how they arise and fade away, for example the hindrances, factors of enlightenment, etc.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:07 am

Greetings TheDhamma,

I think the distinction is... is it mindfulness of the Dhamma, or is it is mindfulness of mental objects?

The Dhamma is the framework, and the mental objects are the observable reality.

The dhamma (mental objects) are observed using the Dhamma.

If it did mean Dhamma (capital D), then all four frames of reference could justifiably be called Dhammanupassana, since they all involve using mindfulness based on the Dhamma... but they're not all called Dhammanupassana... only this one.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:11 am

What do you mean by Dhamma (capital D)?
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings TheDhamma,

I think the distinction is... is it mindfulness of the Dhamma, or is it is mindfulness of mental objects?

The Dhamma is the framework, and the mental objects are the observable reality.

The dhamma (mental objects) are observed using the Dhamma.

If it did mean Dhamma (capital D), then all four frames of reference could justifiably be called Dhammanupassana, since they all involve using mindfulness based on the Dhamma... but they're not all called Dhammanupassana... only this one.

Metta,
Retro. :)
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19371
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:18 am

Greetings Tilt,

Whilst I know that there is no capitalization in Pali, conventional use attributes (upper-case) Dhamma to the Law or Doctrine or Teaching or Norm etc, and (lower-case) dhamma to all other applications, such as mental objects, "thing" etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mindfulness Of Mental Objects (dhammanupassana)

Postby zavk » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:What do you mean by Dhamma (capital D)?
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings TheDhamma,

I think the distinction is... is it mindfulness of the Dhamma, or is it is mindfulness of mental objects?

The Dhamma is the framework, and the mental objects are the observable reality.

The dhamma (mental objects) are observed using the Dhamma.

If it did mean Dhamma (capital D), then all four frames of reference could justifiably be called Dhammanupassana, since they all involve using mindfulness based on the Dhamma... but they're not all called Dhammanupassana... only this one.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Ermm... can I just say that reading this exchange about Dhamma vs. dhamma vis-a-vis what TheDhamma has said about the Dhamma/dhamma made me smile. :tongue:

:focus:
With metta,
zavk
User avatar
zavk
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Next

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], KenD, Kumara, mikenz66, SarathW and 2 guests